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How the B1G mounted its defense against recruiting deregulation

The Big Ten's defense against the NCAA's recruiting deregulation proposals was aided with an Urban Meyer text message. According to a report from Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, Meyer wrote the following text to Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, which was then circulated among Big Ten brass in mid-February, a month after the NCAA's initial proposals.

Meyer writes, “that there are already teams that have made plans to have separate scouting depts. [sic]. there has already been nfl scouts that have been told they will be hired to run the dept. (hired for over 200k). I checked with an NFL friend and he confirmed that there was much conversation about this. Appealing to scouts because of no travel. Also, there has been movement to hire Frmr players/coaches with big names to work in that dept. and recruit full time. This will all happen immediately once rule is passed. Thought u should be aware if [sic] this nonsense to share with who u feel can assist.”

While the proposed changes, namely - the removal of limitations on recruiting personnel, the deregulation of text message limitations and the removal of limitations on the mailing of printed materials (the so-called "Fathead Rule") - were controversial across the board, the Big Ten protested the loudest. The conference sent an official statement denouncing the changes on Feb. 11. 

“If now the membership doesn’t want some of these changes, fine by me,” wrote NCAA president Mark Emmert. “But to be honest, I don’t know how the membership wants to make decisions. The process used to make these changes was as open, representative and democratic and I could imagine — other than the old town hall convention model I suppose.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany expressed frustration at the timing of the NCAA's feedback requests from coaches and athletic directors - during October, when all involved were more than a little pre-occupied. “I’m not sure anyone has an appreciation of the compulsions, competitiveness and energy that underlies that pursuit of a 16 year old recruit by an assistant coach at our institutions," Delany wrote. "This process of pursuing athletic talent nationally and globally is something we have never found even a half way healthy way of managing/regulating. This continues to be the case.”

Read the full report here.